I spend a lot of time studying about how financial advisors should differentiate themselves. But perhaps this is a waste of time for several reasons:
Most important, as Blair Enns stated, “The challenge in determining the value of our service is that the quality of an idea not yet delivered (and implemented) is difficult to measure.”
Instead of thinking about and talking about differentiation, focus on delivering value, as defined by each client, and have the client decide whether your value is enough to choose you as her or his advisor.
As Kenichi Ohmae of McKinsey & Co. stated, “If you are fighting with a competitor who has equal qualifications, effective and persistent execution in critical functional areas may be the only differentiating factor.” I once heard a talk by Bill Gove who said, “When all else is equal, I make the difference.” Essentially, differentiation is a function of:
I have addressed what are high-value deliverables and outlined them in the document “What We Deliver.” This piece has several key points that should drive your practice. You:
This is not to suggest that any of the many thousands of advisory practices cannot also provide these deliverables (though some don’t).
In addition, Mitch Anthony has defined six key value propositions of financial planning are that you can also provide. And, as Michael Kitces says, “while the words themselves are not necessarily new and unique, Anthony’s use of them, along with explanations of exactly what the advisor provides, and how, paint a remarkably clear picture of what the intangible service of financial planning is meant to provide, and why it’s worthwhile for consumers to pay for a financial planner.”
For those who have not seen them, they are as follows:
Finally, I recently came across an RIA firm that is reaching into some new areas to explore with clients that can add significant value. In addition to all the deliverables included in a comprehensive life-centered, financial planning, and wealth management-based set of solutions, it also offers what they term, “engagement opportunities that inspire change.” This includes:
Digging more deeply into life’s most important topics helps individuals focus on Mitch Anthony’s saying, “Living the best life you can with the money you have” and answering questions like,
For most people, money for money’s sake is not living the best life you can.
David Leo is Founder of Street Smart Research Group LLC. He is an author, speaker, coach, consultant, and trainer to financial professionals. David is an experienced business manager who works solely with Financial Advisors, Planners and firms who want to organize, structure & grow their businesses by attracting, servicing, and retaining affluent clients.
If you would like additional details or have any questions about his articles or an interest in coaching schedule a free 45 Minute Strategy Session @ https://calendly.com/davidileo or contact him @ David@CoachDavidLeo.com. Call 212-598-4229 (Office) or 917-379-1249 (Cell) and visit @ www.CoachDavidLeo.com